Making Changes? Don't listen to naysayers


It has taken me a long time to confirm this observation and write a bit about it, but here goes:

Any time, and I should say every time, you propose doing something new with your life, your career, a new process at your work, something new, you will encounter naysayers.

You will encounter people with other opinions.

You will encounter people who just want things to stay the same no matter what.

I have met some of the least engaged employees who will fight tooth and nail for their mediocre career existence.


People do not want change.  They say they do, but as someone said to me recently, they don’t want the actual process of change.

What happens during any change?

change curve

During the change, people get information about what is happening and go into denial.  This denial is avoiding the process of actually thinking that this change might happen.  But, then things start to happen and people get frustrated and angry.  What happened to my status quo?  Things are different and unfamiliar, I will fight for things to go back to the way they were – even if they were not that great to begin with.

When I lived in Washington, DC I was in a relationship that was not very healthy.  My girlfriend and I would fight a lot and that became what was normal in our relationship.  A friend of mine came to visit and pointed out that things were not very peaceful between us and I immediately told him that he was off.  I was in denial.  Even though the status quo was not great in my life, it was all I knew.  I also was part of the problem, that was also something that was hard to accept.  I had to change.  I had to do better.  Over time I realized that my friend was right and I started to take some steps to make change.  But it was not easy!

If you can get people, groups or organizations past the anger part of the change they will begin to explore the change and they will start to become more productive once again.  Some change processes never even get to this point and are abandoned.  To keep moving on the change curve you need leadership, fortitude, accountability and constant communication.

If you push past exploring the change you can get to acceptance and productivity can actually go past what was normal before the change.  Sounds so easy right?  It is not.  But, it is worth it.

Something I have learned in 2014 is that it is ok to try this process and not be successful.  Try and fail, try and succeed – but most of all try.

I have some new ideas percolating for 2015 in my personal life and work.  At work I want to try and launch some new products for our company:

1)  An experience for people to learn how to leverage their strengths in their careers, and if need be, changing careers.

2)  A strengths mastermind group for people who want to take their consulting businesses to another level

3)  An online version of what we do for people who cannot be with us face to face

All of those and more – you know what?  Some or all might work or fail – but I can’t be afraid to try and see what will work.

What are you willing to try in 2015 that has no guarantee of success but would be good for you to try regardless?

If you try, be prepared for people to tell you why it will not work.  For the most part, do not listen to them at all.  They are probably not stepping out and trying new things in their own life.  I don’t spend a lot of time taking feedback from people who never try.  Now, on the other hand, people who are entrepreneurial and try lots of things, I will listen to them all day long.

In 2015 just try something new.  Know that you will experience some version of the change curve, and that it is ok to walk through these steps.  Change and changes are inevitable, how about you be the driver of them this year in your life?

Happy New Year and, as always, Carpe Diem!

1 Comment
  • Diana
    January 1, 2015

    Thanks JVD, this is so true and am looking forward to a year of change and unknown!